PAINTING IN 58 NATIONAL PARKS IN 58 MONTHS
The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
Get out of the car and walk into the landscape.
This seems obvious, but the effect of doing just that has been profound. After spending thousands of miles viewing the landscape from an automobile, this idea, to get out of the car, to walk into and be in the landscape - to see it, hear it, feel it and know it - is at the heart of my work as an artist. I seek a direct relationship with the landscape through painting it.
In March of 2011, I decided to give myself permission to go out and paint in as much wild land I could find and get to. The project of painting in each of the 58 National Parks grew out of the realization that much of the land that is easily accessbile is preserved in these parks. It seemed reasonable that I could get to all or most of the 58 parks within 58 months, and an idea was born.
Over the last four years, the goal to experience these open spaces has allowed room for great travel and some good work has come from it. An additional park, Pinnacles in California, has been added to the 58. To date, with six months remaining (58 in 58 + 1), I have been able to paint in 38 parks.
I have been amazed to see how much open space has been preserved in our National Parks -- 51.9 million acres, to be exact. The land sits there, awaiting our arrival and exploration. It is in itself a kind of a work of art, allowing each of us to relate to and respond to it in our own way. My work has included just this relating and responding: to be present in these wild spaces and to paint from these explorations.
How to paint the landscape: First you make your bow to the landscape. Then you wait, and if the landscape bows to you, then, and only then, can you paint the landscape.
Please refer to the Journal page for recent updates on the project.
To see some of the work from these explorations, visit the Paintings page.
Rainier, July 2013
"Staircase-1, Olympic National Park" 42 x 48" oil on panel